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Forget that the Cotillion Stakes (G1) drew only a four-horse field. The 1-1/16 mile test on the main track at Parx Racing will go a long way to answering who is the best 3-year-old filly on the East Coast.

Questing, the Godolphin Racing-owned daughter of Hard Spun, is seeking her fourth straight (and third consecutive Grade 1) victory. For a filly that was nearly retired after a pair of so-so grass starts, she has flourished since being allowed to stretch out on the dirt. Beyond her tendency to drift in the stretch and hatred of being hit with the whip, Questing is liable to bounce (turn in a sub-par performance after an especially fast race) after setting a blistering pace in the Alabama Stakes (G1) in her most recent start.

The probable co-favorite is 2011 champion 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia. The undefeated daughter of Smart Strike can usually be found on the lead; however, in her first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last fall, the leggy bay stutter-stepped out of the gate and found herself at the back of the pack. Like a true professional, she picked off rivals one by one on the turn and bounded home to win the Mandys Gold Stakes by three lengths on August 8.

For those who read "lugged in" in the past performance line, it's important to note that Julien Leparoux was trying to get 'Aurelia to switch leads by tugging on the left rein and the filly responded by shifting her weight hard to that side — it was a reaction, not a sign of distress. Adding to the odd stretch run, it appeared that Leparoux lost his stirrup in the break from the starting gate, meaning his balance was compromised when he needed his strength the most.

With regular rider Corey Nakatani back aboard, it's expected that My Miss Aurelia will be back on the lead off a series of strong workouts over Saratoga's Oklahoma Training Track. Joining her and Questing near the lead should be Moment in Dixie from the Jimmy Toner barn. Drawing the rail, the dark bay or brown  homebred for the Phillips Racing Partnership debuted in April of this year. The Dixieland Band filly captured her first two starts before a pair of second-place finishes in stakes company. When it comes to riding tactics, Nakatani may have an edge as he was aboard Moment in Dixie for both of her victories.

Rounding out the "Dixie bookends" is Woodbine invader Dixie Strike. The Mark Casse-trained daughter of Dixie Union is the most experienced filly in the field with 12 starts, including beating the males in the restricted Prince of Wales Stakes. Part of the Canadian Triple Crown,  that was the lone dirt effort for the deep closer, who has proven capable of beating more than just state-bred company in graded stakes competition.

My Selections:

My Miss Aurelia

Dixie Strike

Questing

Moment in Dixie

$1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1)

Saturday, Parx Racing, Race 10, 5:40 p.m. EDT

3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, dirt

PP. Horse

Jockey

Weight

Trainer

Odds

1. Moment in Dixie (KY)

J Lezcano

114

J J Toner

6-1

2. Questing (GB)

I Ortiz Jr.

124

K P McLaughlin

1-1

3. My Miss Aurelia (KY)

C S Nakatani

117

S M Asmussen

8-5

4. Dixie Strike (ON)

R A Dominguez

122

M E Casse

4-1

 

Image Description

Molly Jo Rosen

Growing up halfway between Hollywood Park and Del Mar, Molly Jo Rosen spent more time at the "horse beach" than the sandy ones. One ride on a pony named Coco at 18 months old had her hooked, and she spent 15 years as a showjumper before a routine birthday trip to Del Mar came with the realization that racing was the life she wanted.

Since then, Molly Jo has traveled across the country working on the best backstretches, frontstretches and farms in the industry. She has held positions with TVG, Churchill Downs, Three Chimneys Farm, and Puglisi Racing, among others.

Now managing member of the Post Parade Racing ownership group, Molly Jo also runs 2yoSales.com (providing data to leading trainers on the juvenile sales), co-hosts the popular podcast Post Parade with The Filly and The Clocker, and can be heard Sundays on "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 am.

Molly Jo serves her blend of pony punditry at FocusedFilly.com.

Image Description

Molly Jo Rosen

Growing up halfway between Hollywood Park and Del Mar, Molly Jo Rosen spent more time at the "horse beach" than the sandy ones. One ride on a pony named Coco at 18 months old had her hooked, and she spent 15 years as a showjumper before a routine birthday trip to Del Mar came with the realization that racing was the life she wanted.

Since then, Molly Jo has traveled across the country working on the best backstretches, frontstretches and farms in the industry. She has held positions with TVG, Churchill Downs, Three Chimneys Farm, and Puglisi Racing, among others.

Now managing member of the Post Parade Racing ownership group, Molly Jo also runs 2yoSales.com (providing data to leading trainers on the juvenile sales), co-hosts the popular podcast Post Parade with The Filly and The Clocker, and can be heard Sundays on "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 am.

Molly Jo serves her blend of pony punditry at FocusedFilly.com.

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